Periodontal Disease Linked with Diabetes and Heart Health

October 2, 2017 | Linda J. Dobberstein, Chiropractor, Board Certified in Clinical Nutrition

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Periodontal Disease Linked with Diabetes and Heart Health
Forty-seven percent of adults age 30 years and older have some form of periodontal disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control. In individuals 65 years and older, the number jumps to a staggering 70.1 percent. Periodontal disease creates a heightened systemic response linked with heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and several other disorders. Nutrient deficiencies like magnesium and coenzyme Q10 magnify its devastating effects. Periodontal disease doesn’t have to happen. Learn about its effects, risks, and natural ways to combat this disorder that affects millions.

[Jump to: Nutritional Options]

Periodontal Disease: Signs and Risk Factors


Periodontal disease is the result of inflammation and infections of the gums and bone that surround the teeth. Gingivitis is an early stage of this inflammation. When it progresses, it becomes periodontitis. Gums pull away from the tooth, low-grade infections simmer, the jaw bone breaks down, and teeth may loosen or even fall out.

Warning signs of periodontitis include bad breath or bad taste in the mouth that doesn’t go away; red, swollen gums; bleeding gums; sore, sensitive, or loose teeth; pain with chewing; and even changes in your bite.

Common risk factors identified include poor oral hygiene, smoking, crooked teeth, immune deficiencies, defective fillings in teeth, poorly fitting dentures, and even hormone changes related to pregnancy, menopause, or oral contraceptives. Additional factors include e-cigarettes, sleep disorders and insufficient sleep and obesity. Dental cavities are preventable and so is periodontal disease. Periodontal disease reaches systemically to the body and poses a greater threat than just the presence of bleeding gums or the threat of tooth loss.

Periodontal Disease Reaches Far Beyond the Mouth


Periodontal disease has a high association with several systemic diseases. Recent research shows that periodontal disease alone causes a 19 percent increase in the risk of cardiovascular disease in adults. If you are 65 and older, the risk increases to 44 percent. Periodontal disease is considered an independent risk factor for acute coronary heart disease as it can cause enough inflammation and silent stress on your body to trigger heart attacks and affect cholesterol measurements. It is linked with pregnancy difficulties like preterm birth, low birth weight, maternal infection, preeclampsia, and gestational diabetes. Gum disease is linked with impaired cognitive function such as Alzheimer’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, arthritis pain, obesity, and type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

Diabetics and Periodontitis: Be Aware!


For Type 1 and Type 2 diabetics, periodontal disease can stack the deck against you making diabetes management much harder. This is because periodontal disease and diabetes are considered biologically linked together. Periodontal disease causes significant oxidative stress which can lead to poor metabolic control in type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes.

Studies show that when dental health improved in diabetics, blood sugar levels improved. It was found that type 2 diabetics5 have a startling 3.2 times greater likelihood of death than diabetics who don’t have periodontal disease. Diabetics with severe periodontal disease are also at considerably higher risk for heart attacks, heart failure, and death from cardiovascular disease. Studies show that when dental health improves the mortality and illness rates from heart disease and diabetes declines.

Mitochondrial Dysfunction: Missing Link between Periodontal Disease, Heart Disease, and Diabetes


The missing link between periodontal disease, heart disease, diabetes, and even obesity may be traced back to oxidative stress placed on mitochondria. A growing body of research shows that mitochondrial dysfunction and periodontitis occurs at a fundamental intracellular level by means of oxidative stress and inflammation.

New research on diabetic rats showed that when mitochondria in the dental tissue had high oxidative stress, inflammation, and blood sugar dysregulation, periodontitis was markedly worsened. Jaw bone loss and gum tissue atrophy correlated with more severe mitochondria damage. Their findings suggested that mitochondrial support could represent a therapeutic target for diabetic periodontitis.

It is more than just a link between what’s happening in the mouth. Recently published information showed that in patients who had periodontal disease and recent coronary artery surgery because of heart disease had several unique inter-related mitochondrial mutations that occurred in the heart and periodontal tissues. The same “mitochondria fingerprint of damage” from oxidative stress was found in the dental and heart tissues that links them together. This missing link makes the following information on magnesium and coenzyme Q10 take on an enormous magnitude of necessity as these nutrients are vital for mitochondria, dental health, heart, and diabetes.

Missing Link: Magnesium and Coenzyme Q10


Magnesium affects hundreds of functions in the body with some of its greatest impact on mitochondria, heart, blood sugar, obesity, inflammation and cellular function. Recent research identified that diabetic patients with chronic periodontitis had the lowest magnesium levels as compared to diabetics who did not have periodontitis or individuals who had periodontitis but were not diabetic.

Magnesium levels are now considered a biomarker and predictor for chronic periodontal disease, and its lack is implicated in diabetes and heart disease. Magnesium deficiency actually causes hyperactivation of inflammation as it induces high levels of oxidative stress. Without it, a snowball effect of increased oxidative stress levels and mitochondrial injury follows – a perfect storm.

Coenzyme Q10 has long been a treasured nutrient for its powerful antioxidant effect in numerous tissues. Like those with a magnesium deficiency, individuals who suffer from severe periodontal disease show a severe deficiency in coenzyme Q10. Research from 1975 showed just how powerful and essential coenzyme Q10 is for periodontal treatment. In this study, 8 patients were under routine care for periodontitis and were considered candidates for surgical intervention. Gum recession was measured and biopsied. After just 5-7 days of coenzyme Q10 intake, gum recession improved and the biopsy sites were not visible. The response was so impressive that “the healing was viewed as extraordinarily effective.”

Mitochondria and the cardiovascular system require coenzyme Q10. A deficiency in Q10 will have widespread effects pertaining to dental, heart, and mitochondria breakdown. Be aware that statin drugs and tricyclic antidepressant medication rob the body of coenzyme Q10.

Insufficient Antioxidants Precedes Dental Disease


There is no doubt that individuals who struggle with chronic periodontitis have a higher antioxidant need as seen with the severe need for magnesium and coenzyme Q10. High levels of mitochondrial stress, oxidative stress, and high levels of systemic inflammation, pockets of germ overgrowth and biofilms, and mitochondrial mutations drive that increased need. Indeed, low antioxidant status occurs before the development of periodontitis. Anyone with periodontitis and its coexisting disorders should consider coenzyme Q10 and magnesium critical, but there are several other nutrients very important in managing dental health.

Antioxidant and Inflammation Management


Hyaluronic acid is one nutrient that needs to be at the forefront of support with coenzyme Q10 and magnesium. Several studies show improved status of gum tissue, bone socket health, and marked improvement in wound healing. In dentistry, hyaluronic acid is well-known for its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects for treating periodontal disease.

Hyaluronic acid has the ability to help bone heal, acts as a natural anti-inflammatory agent, and helps stop bacteria adhesion that leads to plaque build-up. Hyaluronic acid may help improve bone formation, accelerates wound healing in infected tooth sockets and helps support dental ligaments. If you have loose teeth, consider hyaluronic acid for natural strengthening.

Several other nutrients are helpful for chronic periodontitis. Resveratrol provides powerful antioxidant effects that quenches oxidative stress and reduces inflammation from chronic periodontal infections. Resveratrol suppresses periodontal cellular inflammation by stimulating powerful antioxidant defenses like Nrf2. Resveratrol also provides antioxidant protection for mitochondria and the cardiovascular system.

Green tea extract, which contains EGCG, helps alleviate gingivitis and periodontal damage caused by the bacteria P gingivalis. Animal studies on diabetic rodents, found that melatonin lowered fasting blood sugar, reduced oxidative stress with the periodontal tissues, and reduced tissue inflammation. Noni and grape seed extract also provide highly desirable support for teeth, gums, and periodontal health.

I am a fan of keeping body parts healthy and intact. The Journal of the American Heart Association March 2017 issue noted that those who have lost some or all of their teeth put considerable strain on the body and increases mortality. Life can throw curve balls and literally knock teeth out, but we are all faced with daily dental self-care. If you have periodontal disease and other disorders like heart disease or diabetes, protection is mandatory.

Support is needed for inflammation, oxidative stress, mitochondria, blood sugar, and antimicrobial activity. The best things to focus on are coenzyme Q10 ubiquinol, magnesium, and hyaluronic acid. For added support also take melatonin, green tea extract, resveratrol, grape seed extract, probiotics, noni, melatonin, and/or curcumin. Not counting wisdom teeth, adults have 32 teeth which require healthy gums and jaw bone as their home. How are your teeth doing?

Nutritional Options



Coenzyme Q10 – Coenzyme Q10 is well known for its leading antioxidant role for heart and mitochondrial health, but it is does more than that. Evidence speaks clearly for its essential role with periodontal health, blood sugar, and inflammation management. After the age of 30, Q10 levels in the body decline with age. Demands increase with inflammation, gene risks, statin and antidepressant medications, exercise, stress, and sleep deprivation. Coenzyme Q10 ubiquinol is the form of coenzyme Q10 that gets into the blood stream in the highest concentration. We offer a crystal free, fat and water soluble form that makes it highly absorbable.

Magnesium - It is estimated that 4 out of 5 individuals are deficient or lack adequate magnesium. The basic RDA for adults is 400 mg per day. Many adults get only a fraction of this. Magnesium, like coenzyme Q10, is essential for hundreds of functions in the body, especially heart, mitochondria, blood sugar, aging, obesity, and dental health. Magnesium works well with other nutrients like coenzyme Q10, calcium, hyaluronic acid, and curcumin to help oral health.

Hyaluronic Acid – This substance is well known for its cartilage benefits, but research shows powerful effects for dental health. Hyaluronic acid has natural anti-inflammatory effects, helps protect gum tissue, ligaments, tooth socket, and jaw bone and even helps protects against plaque and germ adherence to the teeth and gums.

Resveratrol – This polyphenol found in red wine has an outstanding reputation for its anti-aging, antioxidant effects. It is often used to help support blood sugar and insulin function, weight management, and improve exercise endurance. Resveratrol provides protection to mitochondria, helps reduce cellular inflammation, and quenches free radical damage in dental, heart, and blood sugar disorders.

Noni – Used for centuries in herbal and folk medicine, this tropical fruit has a long list of benefits. It has been used to help combat bacterial, fungal, viral, and parasitic infections. Noni supports germ fighting immune cells and helps manage inflammation. Evidence and experience shows that it helps with pain management and helps protect bone health and dental ligaments from germ toxins and inflammation.

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